Friday, December 23, 2011

Love and Compassion

SCHOOL'S OUT! As silly as it may sound, I think I was just as thrilled as the children about Christmas break.  My school went all the way until this last Wednesday, while pretty much every other district was done on Friday, so I was soooooooo ready to call it a semester.  I feel bad complaining about my break though.  Most people work all the way up to Christmas Eve, and some on Christmas Day.  I am thankful that I get a couple weeks to recharge before I get right back to it in January.

Speaking of January, I've placed a few of large goals in this next semester that I'm nervous/excited about:

1. I applied for my Praxis 3 assessment, which determines whether I get to keep being a teacher or not.  No pressure, I just need to pass to get my initial license replaced with a "real" teaching license....
2. I registered for extra grad school classes this semester, you know, just to keep things interesting.  The course load I took this semester was definitely sufficient to keep me busy, but I guess we'll see how this goes!
3. Finally, I signed up for the Little Rock half marathon in March.  I'm so excited to have a running goal in front of me, and I know I can do it.  However, 13 miles still sounds like a really, really long distance.

I'm excited/nervous/anxious about these developments in my life, but I don't technically have to think about them until January.  Today, I want to focus on my favorite holiday--Christmas!

In my last post, I talked about the "Christmas slump," how I was just struggling to find my Christmas spirit this year.  I think part of the problem was that I was just overwhelmed by lots of other junk.  I wasn't allowing myself the time to savor the moments that make Christmas so special.  However, this week I have watched several Christmas movies, baked, wrapped Christmas presents, and, in general, made merry.  Tonight, we start family Christmas festivities with my dad's family, and then they'll keep going strong until Sunday night.  I'm super excited. Bring. It. On.

Last night, my family went to dinner and the Arkansas Rep to watch it's performance of A Christmas Carol the Musical.  I taught this play to my seventh graders this year, so I was really excited to see how the musical compared to the original Dickens work. (You may now forever call me a nerd for that statement.  I realize it makes me sound like such a book snob.)  In many ways, it was very similar.  There were even lines lifted straight from the original work, which I appreciated.  However, there was one song that was repeated throughout the musical that really spoke to me as the true theme of Ebenezer Scrooge's story of redemption.

It said:
Let the stars in the sky remind us of man's compassion.
Let us love 'til we die
And God bless us every one.

I think, for me, that pretty much sums up the true meaning of Christmas.  I think about all the Christmas movies that I have loved over the years.  In each one, a main character learns the meaning of Christmas, and that meaning is ultimately love and compassion.  It is compassion for the less fortunate, like when we buy for Angel Tree children; it is love for family and friends as we go out of our way to see each other; it is love for a season that brings people together more than any other.  I love the lights and trees and trappings of Christmas, but my favorite thing is the way it makes people feel--to know that they love and are loved.  So, Merry Christmas.  I love each person that reads this blog, because it makes my day to know I'm not only writing to myself.  I hope you have a blessed holiday season, filled with love and compassion.

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